Let’s keep it simple and not add a layer of misery into what we are eating as an athlete. Youth sports nutrition is important, it helps athletes be energized to workout.
As a coach, I often ask my players, “What did you eat today?”. The reason I ask is that I have so many youth athletes that didn’t eat enough or didn’t eat the right thing or didn’t eat AT ALL! And then they complain they are light headed. Youth sports nutrition is vital to the athlete and helps them in so many ways.
Why snack as a youth sports athlete?
- Gives you energy
- You physically and mentally feel good
- Helps you play better on the field
What makes these healthy snacks special?
- Portability – easy to carry if you are on the go
- Price – usually 1 serving is a low cost
- Easy – these items on the
- Diversity – you can change up what you add at any time thus having the same snack with different options
- Healthy – let’s not forget that they are healthy
Top 5 healthy snack options at home before practice
This is my go to for the winter. My teen athletes have loved oatmeal and it is easily customizable. Drop in fruit, a spice or two, hemp seeds, nuts or chocolate chips (have some fun) and you have an easy to eat snack before or after your practice or game.
Oatmeal is also readily available if you have an overnight tournament and are staying at a hotel.
Want to have some fun? Do easy over-night oats in a jar. Here are some great easy recipes with items you should have on hand.
This is one of my favorites because you can mix and match like outfits. Just like oatmeal, you can drop fruit, nuts and more into your yogurt. Maybe you need something with a bit of sugar, then just get the regular yogurt.
When you have plain yogurt, you have a bit more options and it stays healthy. Plus it can be portable if you buy something off the shelf. This is one of the items I like to have a few hours before I workout or practice.
Yogurt is great for gut health too, so have it once a day and you will be on the right track.
Eggs for a snack? Yes, why not. If you are cooking your eggs, fry up any veggies or meats you have like tomatoes, peppers, carrots, onions, ham or sausage (already cooked). Get creative and drop some cheese on top. This is a healthy option for breakfast or after school snack. For the athletes, get permission to use the stove too.
Want a portable egg option? Hard boiled eggs are not readily available at your school, supermarket, or convenience store/gas station. I have dipped my hard boiled eggs into hummus (that is a tasty treat) and it is healthy.
I made this term up for my teenage athletes as they wanted different options. Some brands are packaging these items with nuts, dried fruits, cheese and crackers. But you can make your own too. I usually just grab what I have in the fridge, so leftover ham or turkey, cheese, nuts and crackers.
Then I bag like items together and there you go. They can snack on it at a tournament, before or after an event. It makes a little meal with a little mess. And if you pack these items prior to your road trip, you can save money too.
Fruit is the best. They are packed with different nutrients and give you a jolt of sweetness that is better, way better, than candy or another snack. There are many reasons why I love fruit.
Fruit is available everywhere. If you are at a tournament, you can usually find fresh fruit at a snack stand. Fruit is available at your local supermarket or gas station – buy on the road. It is easily portable, so you can usually toss it in your bag (I usually use my front backpack pocket). For a quick tip, bring a small container of nut butter like peanut butter.
Here are some of my favourites:
Do you have a favorite snack item that you want to share? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org? For more information on youth sports nutrition from our experts, check out our blog posts here.
Amy Masters is head of marketing for iSport360 and has been a multi-sport coach for over 10+ years. Mostly coaching youth field hockey for 5 year olds thru seniors in high school. She has had discussions with her players about eating properly before practice, during tournaments and after an event.